Saturday, December 29, 2012

Exploring Denver

On Saturday night, after a fun day in Longmont and Nederland with Dan's Mom, Dan and I headed up to Denver to spend some time with family and friends. We got tickets in advance for the Nuggets - Bobcats game and we were lucky enough to be seated in the Mt Loud section where they gave us fun little noise makers and we were supposedly extra loud nosebleed guests :-).
Ellen and I with our noise makers

Gabrielle and David Enjoying our Birdseye View of the game
 Towards the end of the game with the Nuggets handily beating the Bobcats a chant started from the upperdecks; "We Want Tacos" . . . apparently if the Nuggets win and score 110 points Taco Bell gives out one free taco per fan. We fans went home happy on Saturday - a Nugget victory and free tacos :-). After the game Dan, Chris, Ellen, Brian and I met up with Alicia and Forbes, some old friends, to catch up.

On Sunday morning after having a sleepover at David and Gabrielle's house we toured around their neighborhood, Lowry, which is an old Airforce base that's been converted into a housing development.
Lowry Plane on Display
 For lunch we met up with my friends Adrienne and John who were visiting Colorado from San Diego! Ellen, Chris, my niece Audrey and Brian also joined us at this really yummy vegetarian restaurant, Watercourse. Ellen knit an adorable hat for Audrey - we think she'll grow into it by age 12 or so :-)
Audrey in her Knit Hat

Lunch Bunch

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Santa Pup

We're in Colorado visiting with Dan's Mom and family for Christmas (we'll also get to see Ellen, Chris and Audrey before they take off for Michigan). Today we had fun playing with Cody. We dressed him up in a Santa suit and sang carols together.
Dan and Santa Pup in Front of the Tree
Cody got his revenge by attacking Dan with a face full of puppy kisses.

Cody Licking Dan
After breakfast we decided to go up to the mountains and explore hippie central; Nederland, Colorado which is infamous for being the home of a frozen corpse brought there in the 80s by a Norwegian guy. We went in to the Carousel of Happiness which is a beautiful hand carved and painted carousel that was 26 years in the making.
Mom Cozying up with a Gorilla

Mary getting friendly with a Peacock

Dan loved this Giraffe
After doing some Christmas shopping in the toy store we grabbed lunch at some train cars that have been converted into an adorable little cafe. We ate our burritos in one of Buffalo Bill's Circus train cars. This car was very old, beautiful and made of wood.
Dan and Mom in front of the Train Car where we Ate

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Battling Homesickness

After returning home from Ann Arbor my running around caught up with me. I was exhausted, worn out and home sick. To help me combat my sadness Dan, Annie and I decided it was time to get a Christmas tree. We piled into the Scion and drove to the Troop 69 run Tree Lot where we picked out a nice, tall Fraser Fir that barely fit in our hatchback
Boy Scouts at Work (Gotta earn that tip!)
Then we took our tree home and Dan and I set to work putting it in some water - but our tree stand couldn't handle a tree of this size - Dan ran off to get us a sturdier tree stand while Annie and I rearranged the living room furniture to make way for our new decor. On Saturday, December 1st we held a tree-trimming party and we shared our Zingerman's cheeses, Toffee Squares, my Grandma's Mushroom Croustades, Egg Nog and more with about 20 neighbors and friends. Annie was on her best behavior and by the end of the night she was curled up next to the Chair of the History Department getting lots of attention and cuddles!

 Dan's final idea to combat my homesickness was to explore Missouri! We drove to Noel, Missouri on the day after our tree-trimming party and mailed out our Christmas cards then later in the week we went South to Branson were we enjoyed dinner and a show; Legends of Kung Fu starring the dancers who performed and opened for the 2008 Bejing Olympics!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Although Thanksgiving was over two weeks ago I am using this opportunity to express my gratitude because thankfulness never goes out of style. On Friday after Thanksgiving (after pierogi making) my parents treated me to a wonderful concert at the glamorous Fox Theater in Detroit - we saw Chris Isaak!

Kathleen and Kevin Looking Good Pre-Concert
 After the show I was dropped off downtown to see some old friends - I am lucky to have so many old buddies in Michigan always willing to meet up for good times.

Mary and Jeff at Rush Street 
 On Saturday morning my parents and I had an old-fashioned tree-trimming party. My parents and I assembled the tree then Alex, Liz and Becky came over to help decorate the tree with ornaments - what a fun morning!
Dad Putting on the Tip of the Tree 
 My mom was the ornament director and narrator and she put on the last one, the oldest ornament which is a banana from her great-grandmother. Here she is telling the story of the banana ornament.

Mom Telling Everyone the Story of the Banana Ornament
 Becky and I then went off and had a wonderful afternoon snuggling and watching Michigan football. Sadly, Michigan only decided to win the first half so we'll have to wait until next year when OSU comes to Ann Arbor to get another shot at those Buckeyes! On Saturday night Mom, Dad and I had a magnificent meal of crabcakes and as a special dessert treat we enjoyed Bill & Jill's wedding cake (Dad had squirreled a couple large pieces home after the grand affair). What a lovely meal! Followed by a smashing win over USC by the Fightin' Irish.

Dad and Mom Enjoy a Good Luck Smooch pre ND game
 On Sunday Mom and I got up early to go to church at St Thomas then hopped over to Zingerman's Delicatessen where I spent too much money on goodies to bring home to Annie and Dan in Springfield.
Zingermans - Notice the Snow!
 It wouldn't be a trip to St Thomas without a trip to the Washtenaw Dairy afterwards for some donuts.

Mary at the Entrance to Washtenaw Dairy
 After dropping my mom at home and having a quick skype session with my Aunt Wini in England I scurried off to meet up with some dear friends at Sava for a lovely brunch.

Darby, Erika, Adam, Lauren, Kristie and Mary at Sava's
 In short I have much to be appreciative for; my wonderful parents, their generosity and good food, my fabulous friends and their good cheer and love. Tis the season. Spread the love :-)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thanksgiving and Pierogi Making

Dan, Annie and I split up for Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving morning Elaine and I ran the Turkey Trot 5K in Springfield.
Elaine and Mary Pre Race
Annie and Dan stayed here in Springfield and spent Thanksgiving weekend with friends, at the Dog Park and doing some Christmas Shopping. I flew home to Ann Arbor, arriving Thanksgiving eve, and spent Thanksgiving at the Dixons with a fabulous meal. 
Post Thanksgiving Meal Walk with Ruth and Mom
On the day after Thanksgiving I drove out to the country to hang with the Cornell families. Andrea, Jason, Jenn and I had a quick workout in the barn and around their property then we got down to business making Jason and Jenn's Grandma's Polish pierogis!

Andrea, aka Rollin'

Rollin' and Jenn, aka Slow Boil Filling Pierogis

Rollin' crimping Pierogis

Jason, aka Crimp Daddy Filling and Crimping Pierogis

Pierogis ready to be added to a Slow Boil
We had so much fun making pierogis and hanging out - Jason, Andrea, Jenn and played softball on the Decepticons together and we have awesome Decepticon jerseys - Jason and I wore ours for Pierogi making.

Darrin and Scarlett showed up after her nap to visit - Scarlett was bundled up as it started snowing lightly.
Darrin and Scarlett Keeping Warm

The Cheez, Scarlett, Slow Boil, Crimp Daddy and Rollin
Don't even bother asking for the recipe because a) it's top secret and b) they didn't give it to me! I traded the Cornell Clan some Dixon cookies for some Cornell pierogis and Ruth has promised to save some for Dan and I in her deep freezer for the next time we're in Michigan . . .

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hockey, Puppets, Weeding and Planting

Dan and I kicked off the weekend with a trip to the Ice Rink where we watch the Missouri State Ice Bears take on their hockey rivals the St Louis University Billikens. What is a Billiken you ask? Annie had to educate Dan and I on that one. According to the littlest orphan, Annie, a Billiken is a good luck figure who represents "things as they ought to be"

Unfortunately the home team lost on Friday 5-3 despite out shooting the Billikens. We rooted for all the Ice Bears but particularly MacInnis who, as you can see here, was a bit of a trouble maker on the ice.

MacInnis in the Penalty Box
On Saturday I had grand plans to plant bulbs but Annie had other ideas. She thought it would be good to lay on the couch and cheer on the Wolverines against the Hawkeyes - Annie loves her Wolverines. The Wolverines pulled out a big win and the action was a little lopsided causing Annie Pup to take a bit of a break from the action.

Annie Napping in a Cozy Lap
Annie was wiped from all the college football excitement so she begged off our Saturday night activities. We met up with friends downtown for a bite and a drink then went on to the Springfield Contemporary Theatre at the Vandivort Center where we saw Avenue Q, the Tony award-winning Broadway musical. Our friend and neighbor, Maggie Marlin, played the part of two characters; Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut. The show was excellent and our sides were aching from laughter!
Post Theatre

 On Sunday despite Annie trying to coerce me into a nap on the couch with her I got out and weeded, dug and planted. We have daffodils, tulips and ranunculus (Dan's favorite flower name) to look forward to in the spring. Our knowledgeable neighbor, Pat, recently gave me a garden tour of our house pointing out invasives and giving names to all our shrubs and ground cover. We successfully cut out a bunch of kudzu and cleaned out our front flower bed of leaves and weeds. Do you have anything you're looking forward to popping this spring?

Something to Look Forward to

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


One of Annie's best dog friends is Samantha, aka  Sam, who lives in Tecumseh, Michigan with Darrin, Jenn, baby Scarlett and Schrodinger the cat. Sam and Annie have had many adventures together. The last time they got to see each other was the last time she was in Michigan for the holidays. We were invited over to their house for dinner and shenanigans and Sam and Annie got a pretty good game of Tug-of-War going.

Sam Letting Annie think she's Got a Chance!
 Sam was adopted through Planned Pethood in Ohio and is a mixed breed. She's a terrific dog who enjoys long walks, snuggling with the baby and sometimes has been known to swallow corn cobs!

Jenn and I have been friends since I began working at ABN AMRO Mortgage Group in 2001. We have had many great adventures including several benefits. Here we are at a Artini Crawl for the Ann Arbor Art Center.

Jenn and Mary at Goodnight Gracie's

Sunday, November 11, 2012


My good friend, Adrienne, adopted Dora this fall out in San Diego. Dora was caged up in a shelter.

How Could Adrienne *not* Rescue this Pup?

Now she's a camping, romping machine. Ade's cat, Tag, has taken kindly to a pup being added to the mix. Tag enjoys chasing around the Klum-Nelson abode with Dora. 

Tag and Dora - photo courtesy of Adrienne

Sometimes we need to be reminded that the best dog toys are not the fancy, expensive ones from PetSmart but just sticks and, in this case, pine cones :-). Annie has yet to meet Dora, but looks forward it!

Dora's Nature Ball
Adrienne, Dora, Tag and John live in San Diego but we met in Ann Arbor where we played volleyball and wore snuggly warm coats.

Mary, Darby and Adrienne at Conor O'Neills in Ann Arbor

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Annie has asked me to do a series on some of her dear dog friends, so for the next few weeks I will be profiling a few of our favorite canine friends :-).

Soon after bringing Annie home we got a visit and bag of gifts from Gracie, Erika and Tim's pug. Gracie gave Annie several cool and practical doggie gifts which we still use - the best probably being the poop bag dispenser in the shape of a bone that attaches to Annie's leash. Gracie lives in Ann Arbor and Annie and she have had a few play dates in their day. Gracie is a very enthusiastic pup - she loves getting dressed up for Halloween. 

Gracie at Halloween - photo courtesy of Erika
Gracie enjoys tennis balls. Here she can be seen hoarding tennis balls in her doggie bed.

Gracie the Hoarder - courtesy of Erika